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Posts Tagged ‘Customer Testimonial’

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Customer testimonial: Friendly Planet Travel does it right

There’s nothing like being greeted by a little good news as you get ready for vacation. A customer testimonial came in recently that had me smiling from ear to ear.

"Friendly Planet does it right and does it well. A sure-fired way to get me back as a customer is to keep on doing what you’re doing. Your focus is on the traveler, your service is very responsive and your prices are very reasonable. The real advantage to a novice traveler, such as myself, comes from having experts who take the hassle and the fear of the unknown (new countries) and the guided tours are well organized and very instructive. Overall, Friendly Planet is a one of the best, if not the best, travel agency that I will revisit again and again."

 – Dana Davis, Wyncote, PA

Thanks, Dana! We WILL keep doing what we’re doing. As for the vacation part, I’m off to Europe for the next two weeks! But don’t worry, I’ll be keeping you updated with our regular Friendly Planet Travel news, as well as what’s happening on my side of the world. So stay tuned for pictures and stories from Gran Paris and beyond!

Customer feedback on Kiva

When our Kiva partnership announcement went out last week, we were met with a ton of excited feedback from our friends, customers, and employees. We were thrilled to see the immediate reaction to our $25 for $25 campaign, and watch the dollars increase on the Friendly Planet lending page.

Some of the positive feedback has truly put a smile on our faces, so I thought I’d include a couple today.

Thank you for sharing the word about KIVA! I have heard about these micro loans for a while now and have been very interested in supporting this process, but have not known how. Today I made my loan of $100 because you provided an easy format to do something good. I love to travel, and I will be going on my second trip with your group next month. I am more likely to travel with your organization seeing that you prioritize making a positive impact on the countries we visit. Thank you for being a good role model for other companies out there. Thank you for providing a travel-lover like me a way to give back!
 – Carolyn, Long Beach, Ca.

Hi, Peggy,

What a terrific idea. My husband and I talked about doing this before the last birthday, but never got around to it. Now we have. Thank you for the push!
 – Robin and Steve Morris

But of course, the danger with partnering with any outside organization is that someone out there isn’t going to like it. I received a rather lengthy, anonymous e-mail on Friday, and I wanted to address the issues raised with everyone here, just in case anyone else had similar worries.

In the e-mail, the writer stated that they were "disappointed with Friendly Planet for aligning with KIVA … Kiva is morally bankrupt and lack transparency. People should know that every time that they make a loan they are being asked to donate to Kiva. In addition, you assume the entire risk of the loan." The e-mail goes on "Without proper notice, Kiva suddenly changed its mission to include US loans that we do not support … Kiva is now simply a very matter-of-fact, pragmatically calculating organization which believes it can rationalize creating a level playing field for poverty in the developed nations and poverty in the Third World; an unconscionable decision. Kiva sold its soul! We are disappointed with Friendly Planet for aligning with such corrupt organization. We will definitely not use Friendly Planet and will be doing all our travelling with other reputable companies …"

I’ve included my response, verbatim. If you have any worries whatsoever about our partnership with Kiva, please read on. Or if you have any other questions about the program, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Dear Sir/Madam;

I’m so sorry that you did not identify yourself so that I could properly address you, but let me try to reply to your very angry message by saying first and formost that you are always free to book your travel however you wish. If you think that you can get the same or better level of service and pricing from other tour operators, by all means, this is your right. This has nothing at all to do with our interest in growing a Friendly Planet micro-lending team through Kiva.

Friendly Planet, unlike the companies you mention who are not involved in any socially responsible activitiy, is actively working toward giving back in the communities we visit. We do this in many ways, not just through micro-lending, which is only our latest effort.

For example, we have worked very hard to generate funds for wells in rural Cambodia, which bring clean drinking water to many people who could not afford the several hundreds of dollars it costs to build a decent well. At present, we’ve dug over 200 such wells, and we are continuing with this effort.

In Hanoi, there is a restaurant called KOTO, which every group we send on our Best of Vietnam program visits for lunch during a day of touring. This restaurant is run by a group of formerly homeless Vietnamese kids who are students in a hospitality and restaurant school that was created just for them. They are housed at this school, given a decent general education that they could not have gotten before KOTO, and then they are taught a profession that is in demand internationally. Once graduated from the program, they are assisted in getting good employment in the hospitality industry.

I could go on and on, but since you evidently are upset about KIVA’s work in the US, I don’t think there is really a point. But let me mention one small detail that perhaps you don’t know. The man who brough micro-lending to the attention of the world, Muhammud Yunus, through his Grameen Bank, from which Kiva has taken its template for its efforts, won a Nobel Prize for Peace for lifting up lives through micro-lending. And he has brough his Grameen Bank to the USA, where we,just as in the developing world, also have needy people who need micro-lending in order to create better lives for themselves.

I’m very sorry that you feel the way you do, but to put your comments in perspective, we have many people who, in the last 24 hours, have decided that we are doing something right. I am certain that if you think about it, you might decide that throwing yourself into the arms of our competition to punish us is not a very valuable way to make a contribution to the world. In fact, the mere fact that there are so many people, including Friendly Planet Travel, who WANT to make a difference in the world, should make you appreciate us even more.

If you would like to continue this conversation, I would love to hear from you, this time with your identity so I can properly address you.

Sincerely,

Peggy M. Goldman
President
pmgoldman@friendlyplanet.com

Customer testimonial from a certified globetrotter

I’m sure by now you’re all aware of how much I enjoy getting feedback from our customers, and how important that feedback is in making Friendly Planet Travel the best company we can in terms of service, value, and overall experiences for our customers.

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All feeback is important, but it’s especially gratifying when an experienced traveler gives us the stamp of approval. That’s why the following testimonial, from Jim Villalpando of Taylorsville, Utah, meant so much to us here at the office. Jim and his wife Gloria have gone on numerous Friendly Planet Travel tours, including Egypt, Israel, Petra, Thailand, and Cambodia, as well as tours throughout Europe.

"What can be said that has not been said? Price, value, your tours are an exceptional value. We have been on five friendly planet tours to date and wil be going on our sixth trip to India, Nepal next month. What ever you’re doing, don’t change the formula until we’ve finshed the seven wonders of the world thru friendly planet tours. Great value on all the tours we’ve taken thus far.
 – Jim & Gloria Villalpando Taylorsville Utah"

 

 

 

 

Customer Testimonial: Taste of China with video!

We’ve had a flurry of customer testimonials come in, after a recent Friendly Planet Travel Taste of China tour. While we love getting feedback of all kinds, this one in particular caught our attention because the couple on the tour had made a short movie of their Taste of China experience, which I’ve included below. It’s a wonderful walk through some of the best China has to offer, and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.

“David and I loved the China Tour. We felt it introduced the different sites and sights in the best way possible. We actually did a movie on the tour: it is listed on YouTube (under the name of traveldudes2 ). It is named Friendly Planet China Tour. I hope you enjoy it. We tried to include our favorite sights. We will almost certainly take another Friendly Planet Tour. They are reasonable and have excellent guides. Ours was named Vivian. She was so informative and friendly. Check out our Video… Also our coverage of the tour on TravBuddy (under the name sylviandavid). Blessings, Sylvia
– Eureka, California”

Customer Testimonial: Coordinating care abroad

Here at Friendly Planet Travel, we work with groups of all shapes, sizes, and causes. And one group in particular that we’ll be focusing on in the weeks to come is religious groups.
There are a number of Friendly Planet Travel tours that cater specifically to religious pilgrimages, excursions, and fundraising trips, such as our Classic Israel – Land of the Bible tour. Our decades spent working with different groups of all faiths has given us the experience to know and understand the interests, sensitivities, and even diets of different religions.
But I’ll expand more on that soon. Because besides giving us our strong religious knowledge, our 30 years of experience has also made us experts in reacting to an emergency. Now, I’m not saying that emergencies happen often, but when they do, we know how to handle it. As I said in one of our previous customer testimonials, when you’re abroad, anything from someone getting sick on the trip, to losing a wallet or passport, to a snafu in the itinerary, could turn into an emergency. And if it does, rest assured that we are going to take care of you.
We recently received a testimonial from a Friendly Planet Travel vacationer who was on a religious group tour with his pastor in Israel, when something no one had planned for happened: He broke his ankle. Here’s what he had to say about that experience, (as always, unedited).
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Excellent trip. Over two years ago I went with a pastor and his wife on a Friendly Planet tour of Israel. About half way through the tour, I fell and broke my ankle. Friendly Planet and their associates really went out of their way to take care of me and to coordinate my care in Israel and to orchestrate my trip home. I highly recommend taking any tour arranged by Friendly Planet and, also, purchasing the very reasonable trip insurance.
– Gene Haury, Simi Valley, CA

If Gene broke his ankle and still calls his Classic Israel vacation an “excellent trip,” then I’d say we did our jobs well!

Customer Testimonial: True love on Treasures of Thailand

Our Treasures of Thailand vacation includes 12 days of beautiful beaches and islands, exotic architecture, fascinating culture, and ancient ruins. And, as many of our travelers have attested, the country provides the perfect backdrop for an absolutely unforgettable honeymoon experience.
I was combing through our customer testimonials recently, when I came across two that particularly struck me because they were from happy Friendly Planeteers who had just returned from their honeymoons with us. At first thought, people might not consider a group tour the ideal way to spend a honeymoon, but if you’re looking for the perfect combination of fun, culture, nightlife, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, a knowledgeable guide is the perfect person to show you the way. Plus, there is still ample time for couples to explore on their own and spend time with only each other.
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Have a look at what these two couples thought.
“We booked this trip instead of going to Hawaii for our honeymoon. It was less expensive to fly half way around the world and stay for 3 extra days than what it would have cost to go to Hawaii. As for the trip, it was by far the best trip of my life. Lek, our guide, is a wonderful person; very accommodating, friendly and seemed to genuinely care about making our experience enjoyable. Thailand is an amazing country that combines beautiful scenery, a unique culture, friendly people, a good nightlife, and is very inexpensive. What more could you ask for? We are looking to book our next trip (Africa) and are definitely looking at Friendly Planet.
– Wade Honeyfield, Denver, CO”

“Thank you for a wonderful honeymoon experience! The Treasures of Thailand tour was very well organized. Our tour guide Matthew was a delight. He was very knowledgeable and enthusiastically helpful. We had a wonderful time getting to know our fellow tour participants. We’re definitely very happy we chose the Friendly Planet Tours as our honeymoon vacation. And as you can see from the pictures, we had quite an adventurous time! P.S. Thank you, Friendly Planet, for the extra-special treatment, for us honeymooners, at all of the beautiful hotels we stayed at.
– Kunal & Leena Bhojawala, Jersey City, NJ”

Customer testimonial: Paying hommage to Pyramids and Petra

Friendly Planet Travel’s Pyramids and Petra tour takes vacationers on a voyFP_Egypt.jpgage of discovery through the Pyramids of Egypt — the oldest and only Ancient Wonder of the World still standing — and the remarkable lost city of Petra in Jordan — one of the Seven New Ancient Wonders of the World. Friendly Planeteers get it all, in a single, inspired trip.


These two great sites are testimony to the perfection of design, architecture, engineering, and artistry of two glorious and ingenious cultures. Travelers can also take advantage of our Dead Sea extension, where they’ll enjoy the luxury of Moevenpick Resort & Spa Dead Sea, a five-star spa hotel at the shore of the world’s lowest body of water.
Two vacationers who just returned from our tour recently sent in a wonderful testimonial that I thought I’d share with you today. Here it is, verbatim as always.
"My husband & I just returned from the Pyramids & Petra tour. Words won’t do it justice, but I’ll give it a shot: The price–amazing! The guides–educated, accommodating, and excessively pleasant! The hotels–fantastic! The optional tours–A MUST! They were the best part of the whole trip, and a fantastic deal! The food–5 star! The touring coach–brand new, air-conditioned, & comfy! We were so thrilled with our experience with Friendly Planet, and all of their contractors, that we are already trying to decide which trip to take next! Thanks for providing such a top-notch experience with amazing people at such a fantastic price! We’ll be repeat clients!
– Amanda Poland, Front Royal, VA"

Customer testimonial: Walk where Jesus walked

Customer feedback is always important to us at Friendly Planet travel. But we received a customer testimonial over the weekend that simply tickled us pink, because it came from a group leader.
This particular group wanted a custom tour to Isreal with an added Egypt extension to the program. We managed to route the tour for them so they could also visit Jordan, while keeping the price at less than the best price they were quoted by other agencies for the Holy Land alone.
We worked with them to create an experience that I hope they’ll never forget, and judging from the feedback from the tour leader, they were a very happy group. Here it is, verbatim:
"The best travel tour I had so far. Friendly Planet made it so easy for all of us 53 tourist. The way they put it together with all the connections between countries, the hotels, buses and different tourist guides was so impressive and we felt pampered the whole time. We really had a grand time. Thank you very much for making it an experience of a lifetime.
– Emmanuel Lacson, Group Organizer, Hinsdale, Ill."
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Tickled reviews for Treasures of Thailand

A group of Friendly Planeteers recently returned from our Treasure of Thailand trip. The Thailand vacation includes 12 days of beautiful beaches and islands, exotic architecture, fascinating culture, and ancient ruins.
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And it looks like the author of this customer testimonial found the Friendly Planet Travel Thailand adventure as marvelous as we do. Here’s the e-mail, completely unedited:
"Dear Friendly Planet, I just returned from your Treasures of Thailand tour. I wanted to let you know that I was so impressed with every aspect of this trip! When I booked this tour I was honestly apprehensive. The price was so good it seemed too good to be true. I really expected to have problems along the way, but there were none! Our tour guide, Ms. Atchara, was outstanding! She took a personal interest in everyone on the tour. There were many times she stopped and bought small presents for our group, like local food to sample or tiger balm for sore feet. The one thing that I really felt was over and above was the fact that she personally picked me up from the airport on my return from Phuket! I expected a private car for a transfer, but she came along just to see me again and to make sure I had a good time in Phuket! I feel like I’ve left a friend behind in Thailand, and I wanted to make sure you know what outstanding people you have working for you there! I can definitely say after this wonderful experience that I would highly recommend Friendly Planet Travel to anyone looking to see the world at a great price. I will absolutely be traveling with you in the future! Thank you again!
– Jenny Gontz, Chambersburg, PA"

See the world, change your life

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I always say that seeing the world is the only way for people to understand it. And unless you experience a different culture for yourself, you’ll never truly grasp it. Traveling changes you forever; whether you’re touring ancient temples in Thailand, digging a well for a family in Borneo, or sipping wine in Italy.
And once you catch the bug — like so many of our vacationers have — you’re a traveler for life. That’s why I was thrilled when this particular customer testimonial rolled in last week. As always, here it is, completely unedited:
“I’ve been on six tours with Friendly Planet so far, and I have to say that those tours have opened up my understanding of the world. The thing about travel to foreign countries is that it changes you, leaving you with a much better understanding of the world, long after you’ve returned. Each tour I’ve been on has been exciting and different, even repeat tours to the same destination. One of the great things about the FP tours has been the amazing diversity of people on each tour; I’ve met everyone from newlyweds to retirees, all looking for adventure. Most of my fellow travelers on FP tours have tended to be well-read, well-traveled, and not fussy at all. They’ve come to taste the amazing foods and walk the amazing streets, not to buy trinkets and eat at McDonalds. Not surprisingly, many of us keep in touch long after the tours are over, and I’ve met more than one “repeater” on the trips to China. And I’m always surprised to find how nice the hotels are. One more thing is that going on these tours is really a good use of your time overseas, since you don’t have to waste time with paperwork, check-ins, deposits, etc. You just go have a drink or walk around the block and come back to pick up your room key. The guides are always funny, helpful, and go out of their way to make sure you have a good time. And there’s always plenty of time to explore on your own. Thanks again for the great experiences. I’ll be back in April to re-visit Thailand!
– Jeff Jenkins, Boca Raton, FL”

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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